HomeAnalyticsThe war in the Donbass: the Kremlin secretly "stuffs" LDNR troops with...

The war in the Donbass: the Kremlin secretly "stuffs" LDNR troops with manpower and equipment.

Experience shows that when Putin calls the Ukrainians “brothers”, and the Russian Federation is preparing another international sport show, we should expect some major dirty tricks from the Kremlin. Especially, when, apart from indirect evidence of the preparation of aggression, there are also direct ones. Thus, under the guise of “preparations for the World Cup in football in 2018”, the Russian military actively deploys military infrastructure in the regions bordering Ukraine; new armaments, ammunition, fuel and lubricants are coming to the occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions from the Russian Federation. As for today, we can state that in fact the level of making up of the personnel in the brigades, regiments and separate battalions of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps reached almost the number of action strength.

Let us dwell in more detail on some factors that testify to the Kremlin’s ongoing attempts to exert the military pressure on Ukraine.

1. During the period 2015-2017, the occupation administrations in the Donbass region conducted an active, intensive restoration of the transport network. In some cases, we can even talk about its reconstruction. First of all, it concerned increasing its traffic capacity.

This restoration has quite a specific character. First of all, it concerns the development of the lateral lines of communications, the repair of system points and highway junctions, various bridges and overpasses on the access roads and lateral routes (all this directly affects the level of maneuverability of troops in the zone of operations). The work was carried out with the active support and participation of Russians, who used a lot their own specialists, materials, funding resources and, in some cases, even equipment.

For example, in LNR – the restoration of separate sections of the Lugansk by-way, bridges and overpasses the restoration of through traffic on the road N-21, and in the DNR – the restoration of the Uglegorsk-Debaltsevo transport hub and a number of other events.

Simultaneously, a large-scale “road reconstruction” was also launched in Rostov and Volgograd regions, the Krasnodar Territory, in the zone of responsibility of its Southern Military District RF Armed Forces. It is also specific that it began with the areas directly adjacent to the Ukrainian border, including in the areas where it is controlled by the occupation forces. Also, under the cover of “preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 2018”, there is an increase in the capacity of transport corridors leading to the border, and new lateral lines of communications (including “bypassing Ukraine”) and transport hubs are being built, besides already-existing.

The forces and assets of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Russian occupation forces in the east of Ukraine, the command post drills “Kavkaz-2016” (September 5-9, 2016)

During 2015 (when these works acquired an active nature), 200-250 million rubles per month were allocated for these purposes from federal budgets (and in most cases – reached 300-350). In general, only in one Rostov region is planned to spend on “improving of transport infrastructure” about 40-42 billion rubles.

It is quite eloquent “reconstruction” on the railway, where the train-handling capacity of separate sections of the railway gradually increases, primarily in the direction of Ukraine and directly in the occupied territories.

The insider network of our group has already recorded the fact that the occupants are working to increase their capacity for cargo handling (meaning loading / unloading), including large-sized objects, at several junction railway stations, both directly in Russia and in the occupied territory of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. New ramps, access ways, parks and lock-up garages are being built. The stations are equipped with cargo trucks, including large-sized cranes, capable of handling heavy military equipment and armament, etc.

The work on “improving the transport network” in Russia itself is actively carried out by Russians at the using of local budgets (mainly at the level of the local transport network, which also has high military importance), as well as in the “creation of a new military infrastructure” in the south-western strategic direction at the expense of the RF Ministry of Defense.

2. In recent times (during September-October), the command of the occupation forces conducts measures for operational coordination and training of combat tasks, mostly offensive topics, with the subordinate units at high speed (it can be said in a hurry).

It already takes place at the battalion-brigade level with the performance of combat firing and mandatory involvement of military command agencies at all levels, artillery and tanks. To date, 2 motorized rifle brigades, 1 artillery brigade, 1 separate motorized rifle regiment and 2 separate battalions from the 1st Army Corps and 1 separate motorized rifle brigade, 2 separate motorized rifle regiments and 1 separate battalion from the 2nd Army Corps have already passed through the “testing ground”, so to say “on a full training cycle and in full force”. Now, there are 1separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd Army Corps and 2 battalions of the 1st Army Corps in the training grounds.

In addition, one must bear in mind that Russians continue to increase the combat capabilities of their own troops along their southwestern borders. The activity of the RF Armed Forces did not stop at the end of the Russian-Belarusian strategic exercises “West-2017”, a complex of strategic large-scale but now exclusively Russian exercises “West” continues. And they will last until the end of November, ending with a whole series of “sudden checks of the combat readiness of troops” (one has only to guess what these “checks” may end).

3. The leaders of militant groups of LDNR also continue to intensively accumulate material and technical means for conducting military operations.

First of all, this is the replenishment of ammunition and fuel. During the current year, they received 300-350 tons of ammunition each month from the “Putin’s post-exchange” (and there were months in which this volume reached 450-500 tons), which is tens of times higher than the consumption rate (actual requirement) of the 1st and the 2nd Army Corps directly at the front and at the training grounds. It is significant that the main nomenclature of delivery were artillery shells (both for barrel and rocket artillery), mortar mines, and tank sabots. Significant assistance to militants in the accumulation of this shooting and exploding “goods” was provided by various “truces”, when the enemy had the opportunity to store it and accumulate safely and thoughtfully, reducing its fire activity to a minimum.

The same goes for fuel and lubricants. 1st and 2nd Army Corps usually received and continues to receive about 2,000 tons of different types of fuel (mainly diesel) per month. But during the current year, there were months when this volume reached 3,000 tons, and there were 3,500-4,000 tons. Taking into account the fact that the order of command structures of the occupation forces introduced “draconian” economy of fuel in units and subunits of both “Army Corps” since the end of last year, these such volumes clearly exceed the monthly need of the invaders directly for “war”, daily activities and combat training (for except for a few summer months). Then, we can clearly say that they have accumulated a lot of fuel.

4. Command of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps, with the help of the “Putin’s post-exchange”, actively and forcefully completes its formations by repaired or “new” units of weapons and military equipment (it means that armament is used in the RF Armed Forces or removed from long-term storage) that  objectively increases their combat capabilities.

And while they operate it with caution (deliveries are carried out mainly in small batches of up to 8-10 units at a time), exclusively “separated” and carefully masked, it is obvious that this process is quite massive. Moreover, the command of the Russian Armed Forces is actively pressing on the “local” commanders of the LDNR for deploying of the appropriate local repair and rehabilitation basis for servicing already supplied weapons and military equipment on the territories of captured factories.

Thus, during this year, the armed gangs of 1st and 2nd Army Corps were replenished with military equipment (both within the framework of completing, and in the framework of replacement of the defective, broken, destroyed or disabled by the service personnel) by approximately 30-35 units of armored and 45- 50 units of automotive equipment per month. Although, there were “empty” months, or the number of “incoming” weapons and military equipment did not exceed 10-12 units, both automobile and armored vehicles. In addition, there are single samples of modern “novelties” of the Russian military-industrial complex periodically appear  in 1st and 2nd Army Corps, or in numbers – the standard equipment of Russian units, which are conducting specialized tasks in Donbas or conducting military tests of equipment in real combat conditions.

As for today, it can be stated that in fact the level of manning the brigades, regiments and separate battalions of both “Army Corps” with the main types of weapons and military equipment has reached almost the nominal strength.

In terms of technical competence, both gangs significantly outperform themselves at the end of 2015. Although, they still have a number of specific problems related to the repair and operational service of weapons and military equipment, primarily to the chaotic and disordered supply or its deficit. For example, there are not enough specialized vehicles in separate brigades. The presence of the tanks of 2 types in the units makes their maintenance and operation quite difficult. They not completed with spare parts, equipment and lack of the trained personnel for its combat use and maintenance, etc.

5. The Russian command actively and in various ways completes the 1st and 2nd Army Corps by personnel, and in this field the enemy has certain achievements.

As you know, there was a significant shortage of personnel in the 1st and 2nd Army Corps. In the brigades, the 1st battalion was usually staffed (and even then, not always, at least 65-70% at best), sometimes the 2nd battalion (it was rarely manned by 40-50%, usually manned third), several special units such as “very separate sabotage and reconnaissance” or some “horse-assault” company (which sometimes outnumbered the separate battalions of the same brigade), and the 3rd battalion in general , was “marked with flags on the ground” (it was usually “designated” by the commander and several militants, who by their qualities did not fit in the 1st or 2nd battalions). For example, in 2015, there were only 2 brigades of 3 battalions in the 1st Army Corps, and there were none in the 2nd Army Corps.

But, gradually, these brigades and separate battalions began to be filled with soldiers and armament and military equipment since the end of 2015. Today, these formations are more or less staffed. At least, the number of their personnel allowed them to solve problems in defense, both in the positional and in the mobile.

Let’s note, if in 2015 the total number of both corps ranged inside 30-35 thousand people, and the average number of a typical brigade in the 1st Army Corps was about 1 thousand people, and in the 2nd Army Corps up to 700 people, now is up to 2 thousand people in the brigade in the 1st Army Corps, and from 1.5 to 1.7 thousand people in the 2nd Army Corps.

But relatively recently (2,5-3 months ago) a series of measures to increase the number of occupation groups began in LDNR. Recruiters “went to the people”, as they say. They use everything from poster advertising and street agitators, to recruiters in schools, vocational and technical institutions, “nationalized” mines and factories, carrying out “large-scale conscript military exercises” with agitation personally Zakharchenko and Plotnitskiy.

In turn, various kinds of “Donbass Assistance Societies” were again activated in the RF under the auspices of the FSB and the GRU.

It became clear that both Army Corps urgently need personnel replacement in significant amount (why – this is the subject of another conversation).

According to our information, the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces intends to increase the number of militants in its “expeditionary” grouping in the Donbas up to 40-42 thousand people (minimum – 38 thousand) within the next 2-3 months, mainly due to the “local base”.

The task is extremely complicated, because a special desire to join the ranks of the occupying Russian Corps and die for the “Russian world” from the local residents is somehow not visible. At least, the summer dynamics of personnel replacement of both Army Corps did not give any grounds for this. For reference: on the average, 250-270 people were entered “military service”, and 110-115 people were left ranks of terrorists for a month during the past summer in the 1st and 2nd Army Corps.

Besides, one should bear in mind that for today in 1st and 2nd Army Corps the ratio between citizens of Ukraine and Russian citizens in no way gives these recruiters optimism: from 70 to 30, as it was 2 years ago, and from 40 to 60, as it is now.

It should be considered that if the military leadership of the Russian Federation does not abandon its intention to increase the strength of its military grouping in the Donbass at the expense of Ukrainian citizens, it will again have to dress up its servicemen into local “miners”, because Russian “TV volunteers” also are already coming to the end.



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